Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Olivia Thirlby Talks Loving Her "Flawed" Character In 'Nobody Walks,' More 'Dredd' & Her 5 Favorite Performances

The Playlist By Jen Vineyard | The Playlist October 18, 2012 at 2:05PM

After a long spate of supporting performances in films such as "Juno," "The Darkest Hour," "Being Flynn," and most recently "Dredd," the talented but under-utilized Olivia Thirlby is finally getting leading roles in which she can truly shine, starting with this week's "Nobody Walks" (read our review here). Playing an artist/film director who nobody seems to be able to resist, the actress displays an inner magnetism that should get her cast in more projects to come. (On the wish list: potentially portraying Carole King in "Girls Like Us.")
0
Nobody Walks, poster crop

After a long spate of supporting performances in films such as "Juno," "The Darkest Hour," "Being Flynn," and most recently "Dredd," the talented but under-utilized Olivia Thirlby is finally getting leading roles in which she can truly shine, starting with this week's "Nobody Walks" (read our review here). Playing an artist/film director who nobody seems to be able to resist, the actress displays an inner magnetism that should get her cast in more projects to come. (On the wish list: potentially portraying Carole King in "Girls Like Us.")

"It's so mysterious that you even know about that one!" she teased when The Playlist asked about her recent audition. "I'm actually not comfortable talking about parts before they become real. I don't want to jinx it."

Thirlby admitted that she's "pretty picky" about the parts she goes after, but her selectivity isn't about the size of the role or the genre of the film. "I want something I haven't seen or done before," she said. "Something different, something challenging, something fun. I'm open to anything. I go where the material is, and I feel like I'm looking for really strong directors. That's the key ingredient. There are some directors I would move the sun and earth for, or stop the rotation of the planets, just to work with them."

On that wish list: Terrence Malick, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino. "And now that they know that, they'll hire me!" she laughed. "They'll go, 'Oh, I only wasn't hiring Olivia because I didn't know that she wanted to work with me. Now that I know, I will cast her in all my films. Not just one, but all!'"

She doesn't feel she's "compiled enough empirical field evidence" to differentiate between male and female directors just yet, since "Nobody Walks" from Ry Russo-Young was one of the first of the latter for her. "I can say I love working with women," Thirlby said. "Film is a man's world, and I really appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with women, especially young women. It's really exciting to be a young woman and be in a position where the director cares about your point of view."

Nobody Walks

Being in sync with Russo-Young (as well as the film's co-writer, Lena Dunham, whom Thirlby has known since kindergarten), helped the actress find the core of her contentious "Nobody Walks" character, Martine, who gets involved with a slew of suitors, including a married man (played by John Krasinski) with whom she's working and at whose house she's staying.

"I love her," Thirlby said of Martine. "I think she definitely makes a big mistake, which is kind of tragic, but really, I think her mistake was to be too naive and inexperienced to pick up on all the red flags that go up. It's interesting that people blame her, that they find her culpable [for the affair], when it's more ambiguous than that. If you really want to break down what happens, John's character Peter is the one who makes more questionable choices. His wife says, 'Don't embarrass me,' and he twists that to give himself permission to succumb to his lusty urges. Martine, she's used to the notion of just having sex with friends and still being just friends afterwards, so she's too naive to pick up on the fact that this man is having a slightly illicit affair and is falling in love with her and no longer has control over his urges. He can't even control himself in front of his family. And once she sees that, she tries to pull back, but it's too late."

Thirlby said it's "much more interesting" to play flawed characters like Martine who make "bad decisions [in] complicated situations." "There's nothing interesting about doing the right thing and being perfect all the time!" she laughed.

Will she get to play someone as interesting as Martine in her next project? The actress said she hasn't been in contact -- yet -- with Amy Berg, the new director of the upcoming Jeff Buckley biopic "Mystery White Boy" in which she has a role. "That one might be on hold, I don't know," Thirlby said. "Maybe they don't want to compete [with Penn Badgley's take on Jeff Buckley in "Greetings From Tim Buckley"], because Penn is a total genius. I'm sure he kills it. I've seen him sing around the campfire and everything, and I definitely cannot sing as well as him."

This article is related to: Olivia Thirlby, Nobody Walks, Dredd


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates